Street Fighter set the standard for the 2-D fighting game with its smash hit Street Fighter II series...but the transition to 3-D has spelled D-E-A-T-H to many franchises that attempt it...so I am pleased to say that Street Fighter IV is nothing short of amazing. The beautifully rendered characters, the backgrounds, the fighting animations, the special moves...all transitioned to the 3-D world flawlessly. Do you remember how stunning it was the first time you saw Ryu execute a hadoken fireball? Well, get ready to relive those past memories. Yet, while the character models are impressive, this game does have a few stumbling points. The animated sequences in single-mode are laughably bad and the in-game menus just don't work properly. Both of which can be over-looked and both of which will be revised when Capcom releases the Champion Edition.
Enough with the graphics, let's move on to gameplay. The game plays very similar to its predecessors. All the moves are the same: Ken's uppercut, E. Honda's claw, Chun Li's helicopter kick... With the forgiving controls, even a newbie will have a chance at defeating a more seasoned player. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions support on-line play, however, my PR version did not allow me to test this feature.
EX attacks also play an important role in the game. EX attacks are performed by pressing two punch or kick buttons, instead of one. This type of attack adds strength to your attack increasing the damage done and knocking down the opponent.
Focus attacks are Street Fighter IV's parry system. A focus attack is performed by pressing and holding medium punch AND medium kick...releasing when you want to use it. This attack yields a variety of results depending on how long you held the two buttons. This will cause your opponent to be knocked down, allowing you the opportunity to perform an uncontested combo. Outside of breaking your opponent's guard and absorbing the opponent's first attack after unleashing a focus....I didn't use them too much as they slow the game and aren't all that functional. If and when Capcom releases CE, focus attacks need to be revamped.
Ultra combos are the second addition to the Street Fighter gameplay. An ultra attack is performed when your character takes damage...this builds your revenge meter. While this is a powerful combo and graphically thrilling, and will usually result in your victory, it is rather cumbersome to pull off (a forward double-quarter-circle while simultaneously pressing all three punch or kick buttons) but the ultra finish is just so rewarding.
Okay, aside from a few additions, the gameplay remains faithful to the series, what about the characters themselves? We get the twelve original characters from the first Street Fighter II: Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, E. Honda, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison. In addition, we get four new characters: Abel (a mixed martial artist), Crimson Viper (a female spy), Rufus (a round kung fu fighter), and El Fuerte (a Spanish wrestler). So sixteen characters in all....but wait, there are a few to unlock, but to do so may be rather tedious:
-- Akuma, After unlocking Sakura, Dan, Cammy, Fei Long, Gen and Rose, Fight him on arcade mode, to do that, get at least 2 perfects and 2 Ultra Finishes.
-- Cammy, End the arcade mode with Crimson Viper.
-- Dan, End the arcade mode with Sakura.
-- Fei Long, End the arcade mode with Abel.
-- Gen, End the arcade mode with Chun-Li.
-- Gouken, After unlocking Akuma, Sakura, Dan, Cammy, Fei Long, Gen and Rose, Fight him on arcade mode, to do that, get at least 2 perfects and 3 Ultra Finishes.
-- Rose, End the arcade mode with M.Bison.
-- Sakura, End the arcade mode with Ryu.
-- Seth, End the game with all the other characters.
And there you have. Street Fighter IV is a great (not flawless) but great addition to the Street Fighter family....with a few flaws that will get ironed-out in the future releases of this iconic series. I will add that if you have the opportunity to get the arcade stick, do so. The controllers (especially the Xbox 360) was rather clunky and hard to adjust.
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Street Fighter IV is a 2008 fighting game produced by Capcom. It is the first numbered Street Fighter game released by Capcom for the arcades since 1999. The coin-operated arcade game was released in Japan on July 18, 2008 with North American arcades importing the machines by August. The console versions for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are currently scheduled to be released on February 12, 2009 in Japan, February 17 in North America, and February 20 in Europe. A Windows version will follow during the second quarter of 2009.
While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.
The game has a very similar feel to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but also has several features from Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. Pressing both light attack buttons is still for throwing, and both heavy attack buttons are for the personal action or taunts. Both medium attack buttons are for the focus strike. Dashes and quick standing are also in the game. C.Viper is the only character who can perform a high jump.
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